Neighborhood Facts

For the fifth year in a row, the Chicago Fringe Festival is located in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood on the city’s northwest side.


Area History

First settled by fur traders, hunters, and farmers in the 1830s, Jefferson Township (named for the ol’ founding father TJ himself) was incorporated in 1850 and annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. It was once home to a large European Russian population of “Volga Germans” but now remains heavily Polish-American.

What To Do In Jefferson Park

When you aren’t fringe-ing, we encourage you to support these cool Friends of the Fringe in Jeff Park:

Copernicus Center

Cultural Activities

  • Copernicus Center: A Polish foundation first established to raise money for a Copernicus statue to be installed at the Adler Planetarium, it occupies the former Gateway Theatre, the first theatre in Chicago built exclusively for “talkies!” The Copernicus Center is now the chief venue for Polish cinema in Chicago, but also hosts films, concerts, etc., for those of other ethnic groups which do not have their own facilities, e.g. East Indian, Spanish, Korean, Philippine, etc., as well as the American community.
  • Filament Theatre
  • The Gift Theatre
  • Jeff Fest
  • Ed Paschke Art Center
  • Windy City Music Theatre



For more info, on the Northwest Corridor, check out this guide >

How To Get There

By Car

There is generous paid street parking around the neighborhood.

From the Loop, via 90/94 toward O’Hare: Keep left to stay on I-90. Take exit 84 for Lawrence Ave toward 4800 N. Turn left on W. Lawrence Ave. Turn left onto N. Milwaukee Ave. Fischman’s will be immediately on the right.

From the north, via 94: Take exit 41C to merge onto IL-50 S/N. Cicero Ave. Turn right onto W. Lawrence Ave. Turn left onto N. Milwaukee Ave. It will be on the right.

From the northwest, via 90: Take exit 84 for Lawrence Ave toward 4800 N. Turn right on W. Lawrence Ave. Turn left onto N. Milwaukee Ave. It will be on the right.

By PubTran

24 Hour Blue line to Jefferson Park Transit Center (UP-NW)

Buses to Jefferson Park Transit Center: 56, 68, 81, 81W, 85, 85A, 88, 91, 92, X98

24 hour bus: #81 Lawrence

Daytime bus: #56 Milwaukee

Bike Tips from Bruce

Chicago is a big city. If you don’t lock up both of your wheels, your frame and your seat–consider them a gift to someone.

Please check to make sure that the pole you are locking up to cannot be pulled out of the ground. Usually it should have a bolt and nut to secure the pole to a stand in the ground. Professional bike thieves use sucker poles that pull right up–they can steal a locked up bike in seconds.

The Jefferson Park Blue Line/Transit Center (4917 N. Milwaukee) has bi-level bike parking. It is well lit and a great place to park. The CTA advises you “lock bikes only to bike rack.” If you lock to a sign or anything else at the CTA station, they can cut your lock and do something you will not like with your bike. That means either a bus driver will ride it or it will become public art.

As you go south from the CTA station towards the Fringe, there are plenty of street signs and bike racks along Milwaukee Ave. by Gift Theatre (4802 N Milwaukee) and Fischman Liquors and Tavern (4780 N Milwaukee).

Lawrence Ave has some signs to lock up to. When those are full, the Chicago Public Library has a bike rack, an old parking meter and seven bike parking spots out front. (It also has toilets, WIFI, books,videos…and is open Mon and Wed 10-6, Tues and Thurs 12-8, Fri and Sat 9-5.)

There are no Divvy stations in the Jeff Park neighborhood. If you have a Divvy, remember, there are late fees every 30 minutes.